Letters to the Editor

I would like to respond to last week’s letter criticizing the quality of some entries in this year’s Campus MovieFest [“Campus MovieFest losing amateurs” printed Feb. 19]. I was interested in entering the event this year, but in the end could not afford the time needed to form a team and make a quality film. But I do take issue with a couple criticisms of the event.

The letter seemed to insinuate that the use of higher quality video production equipment was creating an unfair advantage. As someone with over four years of video production experience, I would first like to point out that the best equipment does not necessarily make the best film. The technical quality of a film may be higher, but that does not mean that the script, or story, or cinematography, or editing is also of a higher quality.

Additionally, access to more professional equipment does not mean that students know how to operate them. I know plenty of people at Tech who can use a camcorder, but not as many that would know how to, say, open up a Panasonic HVX200 by two f-stops. Plus, the actual composition of a shot depends nothing on the camera used to capture it. In the end, a film is made by filmmakers, not by equipment.

Also, judges in student film competitions know what they are looking for in a film, and can easily see past the visual and audio quality to judge films based on cinematography, directing, acting and plot. I would expect the judging body of Campus MovieFest to be no exception.

Finally, it is unfair to penalize students just because they have dealt with filmmaking before. After all, their primary purpose at Tech is getting a degree, not making movies. There are a plethora of serious independent film competitions out there for aspiring filmmakers, but I would not quite rank CMF as one of them. Those competitions involve professionals who make a living in film and video production, use professional equipment, and often include budgets reaching into the thousands of dollars. CMF is a casual competition for full time college students looking to have fun and make a quick film in a week. I don’t see how it could be more amateur than that.

Chris Rodesney

Second-year PHYS

I support transitioning to clean energy and eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels. Not only will clean energy improve our economy through job creation and reduced energy costs for more efficient buildings, but it will also reduce pollution that causes illness, death, climate change and ecosystem devastation. Unfortunately, D.C.’s definition of clean energy includes offshore drilling, “clean” coal and nuclear power. These non-renewable energy sources put our environment, economy and well-being at risk.

Offshore oil wells spill thousands of barrels of oil, fuel and chemicals into federal waters. How will an increase in these “routine” releases, no less the threat of massive oil spills, impact coastal ecosystems? There is no reason to risk our water for oil that, by Department of Energy estimates, would only meet U.S. demand for about two years!

Politicians on both sides of the aisle are calling for billions to develop “clean” coal technologies. Coal will never be clean or renewable. So-called “clean” coal technologies are expensive, inefficient and unproven. Considering the harm to Appalachian communities caused by mountaintop removal coal mining and resulting pollution, a coal-powered future looks awfully dirty: toxic materials, including mercury and radioactive waste, will continue to be pumped into our environment.

Nuclear power is a foolish investment. Rocky Mountain Institute estimates that investments in efficiency could save seven-times as much energy as equal investments in nuclear plants produce, while creating 10 times as many permanent jobs. President Obama recently announced the release of $8.3 billion in loan guarantees to finance the first new nuclear reactors begun in this country for nearly 30 years. Georgia’s Plant Vogtle will be the first to receive funds. This site was intended for four reactors estimated at $600 million total, but only two reactors cost $9 billion. Since nuclear plants are risky investments, the only way utilities can pay construction costs is to pass them on to taxpayers and ratepayers.

Our future depends on implementing truly clean and renewable sources, like wind, solar and geothermal energy. Otherwise we are just paying to poison ourselves, and our children.

Carly Queen

Alumna- ‘09 ME